To infinity and beyond: Tom Hanks takes Londoners to the moon with immersive show

Tom Hanks takes Londoners to the moon with immersive show
Tom Hanks takes Londoners to the moon with immersive show Copyright Credit: Justin Sutcliffe/Lightroom/Handout via REUTERS
By Theo FarrantAP
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A new immersive documentary produced by actor Tom Hanks retraces the Apollo missions which landed 12 people on the moon.

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More than 54 years ago, Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon

The journey that took them there and their mission is now part of an immersive documentary experience. 

It's being screened at The Lightroom in London, a venue with a 12-metre (40-foot) high room equipped with a surround sound system, that specialising in interactive art and film experiences.

And the executive producer of the show is none other than Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks.

A blockbuster beyond the stars

Spectators attend the exhibition ''The Moonwalkers: A journey with Tom Hanks'', at Lightroom in London.
Spectators attend the exhibition ''The Moonwalkers: A journey with Tom Hanks'', at Lightroom in London.Creidt: Justin Sutcliffe/AP

The Academy Award-winning actor is a lifelong space buff, and he has channelled his passion for things extraterrestrial into “The Moonwalkers: A journey with Tom Hanks.”

"A lot of this stuff has just become boilerplate. Neil and Buzz walked on the moon, and one small step of that," says Hanks.

"But the delight for all of us here is to go even farther to see what happened because the fidelity of all, you don't see any computer-generated images here. Everything here was either drawn by, I mean - there's plants or whatnot. But every photograph, every image was a photograph taken by a human of the subject matter. So there's nothing fake. This is all empirically true. And it's presented in a way that I think is quite wondrous."

Visitors sit in a big room surrounded with all four walls as screens as the 50-minute film brings NASA’s Apollo space missions to life.

It focuses on the 12 men who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972, the thousands who helped them get there and a new generation of astronauts set to return to the moon as part of the Artemis program.

Narrated by Hanks in his distinctive style, the documentary, co-written with filmmaker Christopher Riley, portrays the space race as a deeply humanist endeavour fuelled by humanity's insatiable curiosity.

Artemis II: The sequel we've all been waiting for

Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Koch and Jeremy Hansen being interviewed at "The Moonwalkers" in London.
Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Koch and Jeremy Hansen being interviewed at "The Moonwalkers" in London.Credit: AP Photo

“The Moonwalkers” includes interviews with the four astronauts due to join the Artemis II mission, humanity’s first foray moonwards for half a century.

Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Koch and Jeremy Hansen are due to fly NASA's Orion capsule on the first crewed Artemis mission, launching from Kennedy Space Center no earlier than late 2024.

They will not land, but will fly around the moon and head back to Earth, a prelude to a lunar landing by two others a year later.

Glover, who will be the first African-American lunar astronaut, hopes Artemis II will pave the way for even more human missions.

"We are 25 years from putting a person at least in orbit around Mars," he says.

"But we've been there for maybe 25 years. And Artemis is an earnest effort to start tracking that down. So we're now one step closer with a successful Artemis I in the bag now and hopefully Artemis II successful here soon. We get to pass the baton to the next mission and eventually Artemis, who knows which one will be sending humans to Mars."

“The Moonwalkers: A journey with Tom Hanks" runs from 6 December 2023 until 21 April 2024.

Check out the video above for a look at what to expect inside "The Moonwalkers"

Video editor • Theo Farrant

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